CI Hero: Canton High teachers educate through a fully remote learning plan

CI Heroes

CANTON, Ill. (WMBD) — All month long we’re highlighting central Illinois educators through our CI Heroes series. This week, Canton High School teachers show how their remote learning environment has a high participation rate.

With a green screen background, Zach Crawford who teaches numerous subjects in the social studies field to Canton High schoolers said establishing a routine is critical for student success.

“It’s all brand new to everybody, but I think the kids are definitely starting to get into a little bit of a rythmn,” said Zach Crawford. “Get into like ‘this is now the norm.’ and so it’s going pretty well.”

Mr. Crawford supervised students virtually as they take a test. He said the pandemic has lended a crafy hand towards trying new teaching styles.

“I mean, I have a green screen behind me because I’ve been trying to be a little more interactive. Bring a little bit of fun to this. You know, trying new extensions within Google Chrome. Some things have worked, some things haven’t.”

Mr. Crawford

Nicole DeRenzy is a special education educator. She has both in person and online students.

“Every day is a new adventure” said Nicole DeRenzy. “It’s forced, I think, myself and several of my colleagues to really push the boundaries and go think outside the box.”

She teachers her high schoolers a myriad of lessons and skills.

“In our clasroom, we’re teaching all the cirriculums,” said Mrs. DeRenzy. “Currently I’m teaching English and math, and job skills, and my students were supposed to be out into the community working and so now that’s a whole other cirriculum that we’re trying to come up with online and find new ways to still teach those skills and they would be learning in the work place.”

Canton’s high school principal said he’s proud of his 60 plus person staff for adapting to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I can’t be more proud of my staff, I mean, everything we’ve done since the beginning…just willing to take risks, willing to try things in a different light, willing to adapt and overcome,” said Principal Jay Valencia.

In October, the district presented a plan to the school board to phase in in-person learning come the second semester.

Nominate someone you know to be our next CI Hero.

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